The United States criticized Israel for a plan to build more housing in an eastern Jerusalem neighborhood.
On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice slammed Israel’s publication of a tender for the construction of 300 additional housing units in Har Homa, a neighborhood on Jerusalem’s outskirts near Bethlehelm that has been controversial since it was first conceived, during Ehud Olmert’s tenure as mayor of Jerusalem.
“We are in a time when the goal is to build maximum confidence with the parties, and this doesn’t help to build confidence,” Rice said in a rare rebuke to Olmert, now Israel’s prime minister. “There should not be anything which might prejudge final-status negotiations.”
Har Homa is built on land Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed to Jerusalem.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak also criticized the move, telling Egyptian media that the United States must pressure Israel if the peace process launched last month in Annapolis, Md., is to move forward.